Last night I went to an authors panel at Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene featuring the authors of three wonderful new books, along with my friends from The Experimental Gourmand and Nomnivorous. The remarkable thing is that all three books were written by people who sell their goods in the Brooklyn Flea.
Well, maybe it’s not all that remarkable when you think about it.
The Flea is a place of commerce, where people can buy and sell things, like any other market in the world. But there’s something special in the sauce at the Brooklyn Flea. People find inspiration there to become entrepreneurs, to follow their passions, to redecorate their apartments, to add fringe to their wardrobe. An energy emerges every weekend when the tents go up and the shoppers stream through the gates to find, inevitably, the very thing they never knew they needed so much. And maybe it’s not so remarkable that there are some book publishers and literary agents strolling through the market each weekend. The remarkable part is when all the stars align and we now get to enjoy these brilliant books.
The panel was hosted by Brooklyn Flea Co-Founder Eric Demby, and the books and authors were:
- Tiny World Terrariums: A Step-by-Step Guide to Easily Contained Life, by Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow of Twig Terrariums
- People’s Pops: 55 Recipes for Ice Pops, Shave Ice, and Boozy Pops from Brooklyn’s Coolest Pop Shop, by Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell and Joel Horowitz of People’s Pops
- Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book: 52 Seasonal Recipes for Small Batches by Erica Shea, Stephen Valand and Jennifer Fiedler of Brooklyn Brew Shop
“Passion” and “energy” are words that are so over played that I can barely use them without cringing. But they seemed like their old selves again when they were used by the panelists last night as they talked about their experiences as vendors at the Flea. The Flea provides a venue for them to test market their products literally. Over the years, it has also become a community of vendors who share advice and information and help each other succeed. So I asked them about the idea of ever “graduating” from the Flea as their businesses grow. Across the board, even with multiple retail shops, international distribution and other successes, they continue find personal and business reasons to sell at the Flea.
Personally, it was pretty great for me to listen to the panelists talk, as I’ve been following their trajectories for the past several years. People’s Pops and Brooklyn Brew Shop are in my guidebook, and I remember the day I met them both at the Flea. I also remember my very first People’s Pop: Blueberry Cardamom. Now that was remarkable.
Congratulations to these talented artisans, business owners and authors! Buy their books — preferably from your neighborhood bookstore!